By Makenzie Wistisen
Mar 29, 2018

Program Feature Series: Games

In this article we are featuring the program module for games from the Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews Volume 1. (You can also read this article for more information on how to plan using the program resources.)

Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

Fun With Lots of Purposes

“Do you ever remember a time when you didn’t play games? Probably not. Most of us start playing games such as hide and seek as toddlers, and we keep playing games of one sort or another throughout our lives.

For thousands of years, in every culture, and across every part of the globe, people have played games. Games are fun—unless you’re getting trounced by an opponent!—but they’re more than simple diversions. They challenge us to overcome long odds, tell compelling stories, and give us the chance to work with or against one another. They give structure to play. We are motivated to think of creative solutions, practice new skills, and share with those around us.

Games also come in almost every shape and size, format and flavor imaginable. Games can be fast-paced, slow, or anything in between. Some are competitive. Some are cooperative. They may be for individuals, small groups, or thousands of players at a time. They might take seconds to complete or last for years. However you slice it, everyone has played games, and games help make us who we are.

This month, you’ll play a lot of games at meetings and during the main event. But you’ll also go behind the scenes to analyze why games work or why they don’t. You can even get a jump-start on the Game Design merit badge if you want to dive deeper into the world of games.”


Printable PDF file of meeting plans and ideas for games.


This month’s activities should:

  • Introduce Scouts to a variety of game types.
  • Encourage critical thinking.
  • Build teamwork.
  • Prompt Scouts to explore the Game Design merit badge.
  • Be fun.

As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing games as your program feature during your planning meetings.

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • What will our main event be?
  • Where will we do our main event?
  • What games do our members like to play?
  • What games would our members like to learn?
  • What game experts can we contact for assistance?
  • How can we involve parents?
  • What parts of the Game Design merit badge can we focus on?
  • How can we use games to attract new members?
  • To meet our needs, what should we change in the sample meeting plans?


Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • As Scouts arrive, have a magnetic dartboard available for play. See who can earn the best score.
  • As Scouts arrive have them play Ring Ball.
  • As Scouts arrive, have them play Moon Ball.
  • As Scouts arrive, have them play Four Square.


Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources


Game Basics

  • Have youth brainstorm different types of games (card, roleplaying, athletic, computer, etc.). Talk about how these game types are similar and different.


  • Talk about the history of games and how individual games or types of games have evolved, e.g., football adding safety rules, video games taking advantage of increased computing memory and power).
  • Show an Internet video of an early football game or a computer simulation of an early videogame.

Gaming Skills

  • Invite a serious gamer, varsity athlete, or member of a group like a chess club to talk about the differences between casual game playing and serious game playing.

Game Design

  • Discuss game design terms and the steps in designing a new game.


3 Categories

Game Basics

  • EssentialPlay a simple card game like Go Fish.
  • Use the EDGE method to teach the game to someone who hasn’t played it before.
  • Make a list of the game rules.
  • Evaluate the game.

  • ChallengingPlay a simple card game like Go Fish.
  • Evaluate the game.
  • Make a simple change to the rules, then play the game again.
  • Discuss how the rule change affected game play and how much fun the game was.

  • AdvancedPlay a simple card game like Go Fish.
  • Play a simple physical game like Tag.
  • Discuss ways to combine the games you played into a single game or ways to incorporate rules from one game into the other.
  • Play the hybrid game and then evaluate it.


  • ChallengingDevelop a set of rules for a game your troop often plays on campouts, such as capture the flag.
  • Talk about the need to add referees to the game.

  • AdvancedDebate any or all of these topics:
    — What would happen in games like basketball if there were no officials enforcing the rules?
    — How do rules improve games or take away enjoyment for fans and players?
    — Is it okay as a strategy to break the rules sometimes?
    — How would you change the rules in your favorite game if you could?

Gaming Skills

  • EssentialPlay Hitching Challenge.
  • Compete against each other in tournament format so you end up with one winner.
  • Discuss the keys to the winner’s success.

  • ChallengingPlay Hitching Challenge.
  • Determine one or two things, such as quickly knowing how to form an underhand loop that Scouts could do to improve their performance.
  • Spend the rest of your time improving your performance.

  • AdvancedDecide on a game the group enjoys. If possible, spend some time playing that game.
  • Develop a plan for improving your ability in that game.
  • If possible, try some of the things in your plan.

Game Design

  • EssentialBegin developing the concept for a new game.
  • Determine the game type, objectives, and number of players.

  • ChallengingBegin developing the concept for a new game. Determine the game type, objectives, and number of players.
  • Make a preliminary list of rules.
  • Sketch the key game elements.

  • AdvancedBegin developing the concept for a new game. Determine the game type, objectives, and number
    of players.
  • Make a preliminary list of rules.
  • Sketch the key game elements.
  • Discuss a plan for creating a prototype of your game.


Discussion Topics

Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning (if applicable)
  • Duty Roster Planning (if applicable)
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event.

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge


Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources



Author: Makenzie Wistisen | is a Marketing Associate for the Boy Scouts of America-Utah National Parks Council, Communications major from BYU, outdoor enthusiast, and lover of chocolate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.